Reba McEntire Shares How She Moved 'Forward' After Divorce

Reba McEntire got candid about her divorce from ex-husband Narvel Blackstock on an episode of her new podcast, Living & Learning With Reba McEntire, sharing that she never wanted the separation to begin with. McEntire was speaking with her friend Dolly Parton for the inaugural episode, which saw the two stars discuss carving your own path in the world. McEntire explained that after her 2015 divorce, she had to figure out a way to move forward, which she did with some help from her team.

"The divorce was not my choice. I did not want it. At all," she said. "So, it was left up to me of, 'Okay. Kid, how you gonna handle this?' So, when the three people who were literally taking care of me and my company, my career, left me… I had to, what the hell am I gonna do? And so it was kind of a, as I call it, 'come to Jesus' meeting. And I had to gather my wherewithal, put my feelings aside, and go forward."

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"So it was forging a path that I didn’t want any part of, but I had to do it," she continued. "But not only for myself but for my band, my crew, my organization. The RBI [Reba Business Inc.]. I had to say, 'Okay, this has happened. We all know what’s happened, ’cause you were all involved. Now we’ve got to move forward.'"

For her story on the subject, Parton recalled the time she famously turned down Elvis Presley when he wanted to record her song "I Will Always Love You" after Presley's manager, Col. Tom Parker, asked that she turn over publishing rights for the song.

"That is a true story," Parton told McEntire's co-host, Melissa Peterman. "It didn’t have anything to do with Elvis. I loved Elvis. It was Colonel Tom Parker, his manager, who was brilliant. You can’t take that way from people. He did all right by him. But, I already had a number one song, 'I Will Always Love You.' And that was the most important copyright I had in my publishing company. And so I was so excited, I told everybody. They had called me that Elvis was recording it, and if I wanted to come to the studio. Elvis wanted to meet me and all that.


"So, anyway, I was so excited that he was going to do it," she continued. "And the night before the session, Colonel Tom called me and said, 'You know, we don’t record anything with Elvis unless we have the publishing, or at least half the publishing.' I said, 'Well, that throws a new light on this. Because I can’t give you half the publishing. I’m gonna leave that to my family.’ I said, ‘I can’t do that.’ And he said, 'Well, then we can’t do it.' And I cried all night. 'Cause I thought, 'Oh, I just pictured Elvis, like, singing it.' And I know that Elvis loved it. And I know it wasn’t him, but it’s true. I said 'no.'"

Parton's business sense paid off, as the song went on to become one of the biggest hits of all time after Whitney Houston recorded it in 1992 for the soundtrack to The Bodyguard.